Benedict Cumberbatch: I'm sorry for calling black actors "colored"

Benedict Cumberbatch attends The Weinstein Company & Netflix's 2015 Golden Globes After- Party at The Beverly Hilton on Jan. 11, 2015, in Beverly Hills, California.

Ari Perilstein/Getty Images

Benedict Cumberbatch says he was an "idiot" to refer to non-white actors as "colored."

The Academy Award-nominated actor used the word on PBS talk show "Tavis Smiley" last week while discussing diversity in the entertainment industry. He said, "I think as far as colored actors go, it gets really difficult in the U.K. and I think a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here than in the U.K. and that's something that needs to change."

British anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card said it welcomed Cumberbatch's comments on diversity but felt the term he used was "outdated."

In a statement Monday, Cumberbatch apologized for his "thoughtless use of inappropriate language."

He said: "I'm devastated to have caused offence by using this outmoded terminology. I offer my sincere apologies. I make no excuse for my being an idiot and know the damage is done."

Cumberbatch has been busy this awards season thanks to his critically-acclaimed performance in "The Imitation Game."

"It's something else. At best you're being recognized for something you love doing, but yeah, it's bizarre," Cumberbatch recently told CBS News. "I mean, it's great, but it's bizarre."